5.04.2009

The Art of Shiva Manasa Puja

Lost in his world of devotion to the Lord, the divine verses fell out of the great Shankaracharya 's mind:

Aaradhayami mani sannibham athma lingam|
Maayapuri hrudaya pankaja sannivishtam||
Sradha nadhi vimala chitha jalabishegai|
Nithyam samadhi kusmaira punarbhavai||

I worship the Linga which is a part of my soul, which resides as an illusory lotus within my heart. I worship the Linga which is bathed by the clear waters of my devotion which flows like a river through me. I worship this Linga with a lotus everyday, so that I am not born again in another birth.

Rathnai Kalpitham asanam, Himajalai snanam cha divyambaram|
Naana rathna vibhooshitham mruga madha modhanvitham Chandanam||
Jathi champaka bilwa pathra rachitham, pushpam cha deepam Thada|
Deepam deva dayanithe pasupathe, hrud kalpyatham gruhyatham||

I offer you an imaginary throne made of precious stones, I offer you a bath in the melted waters of the Himalayan snow. I
drape you in sacred silks and adorn you with precious jewels. I offer you sandal and musk and make offerings of vivla and champaka flowers to you. I offer you this holy lamp and all these offerings i make in the portal of my mind. Please O merciful Lord, bless me with your grace.

- * - * -

These words of love that the Shankara sang in praise of the Lord bring a sense of overwhelming peace in lesser mortals like me. To believe in Lord Shiva is one thing, to worship regularly is another but to feel the presence of Lord Shiva deep within the emotions rooted in the hrudaya kamalam is something else. To recite songs to the Lord is one thing, to understand the meaning is another but to realize the beauty of his presence within the self is a completely overwhelming experience.


Hrudaya kamalam, is the blooming lotus in the heart chakra and the presence of the Lord is felt when these divine verses stop time, stop activity, trivialize worry, discard greed and vanquish destructive thought. That is when the Bhakta knows that the Lord has descended into his being and he then proclaims himself as the Athma Linga.

I feel blessed to have been granted the sensibility to worship the Lord, I feel blessed to have been given the consciousness to realize his presence. I feel blessed to be able to offer vilva leaves and lotus to the Lord during worship. I feel blessed that my mind dwells deep into Lord Shiva and with every passing breath, with every passing thought I feel him, his reality, his presence.

My heart is his throne,
My mind is his home
The lotus of my heart is his bed
My thoughts are music to him
My breath is the beat in his steps
My body is his fortress
My speech is a song to him
My actions are his will
My eyes are an offering of the three leafed vilva
My self is his beauty
My life is his prana
My soul is but a part of him
I am but He

As I offer these sacred leaves and as I place my mind on his thoughts, I realize there is no great happiness in this world. Events come and go, people come and go, feelings come and go but all that is there to stay is my mind, my thoughts and the Lord who resides deep within the lotus of my heart.

Aathma thwam Girija Mathi sahacharaa prana sarreram gruham|
Pooja theey vishayopa bhoga rachana nidhra samadhi sthithi||
Sanchara padayo pradakshina vidhi sthothrani sarva giraa|
Yadyath karma karomi thathad akhilam shambho thavaradhanam||

My soul is your temple O Lord, my activities are your attendants. My body is your home and my acts to please my senses are but in worship of you. My act of sleep is but in deep meditation on you, and my walks are all in circumambulation of you. All my actions are but in your worship and all that falls out of my mind are sacred verses in praise of you.

When the mind rests on the Lord, and all actions are but attributes of his presence, how then does it matter who or what I am?

Other topics of interest:

A journey from Pictures to Temples to Yantras to Nirvana.
Bhakti, pulse in the dance of Lord Nataraja

Lord Shiva Nataraja, the rhythm of life
Hrudaya Kamalam, the lotus of my heart blooms

26 comments:

JC said...

Yes, Kavitha, it all boils down to a mater of belief!

YOSEE said...

Yad Yad Karma karomi thathadakhilam shambho tava aradhanam. Can there be a greater dharmic principle to live by ! Can there be a more valuable offering to the paramatma !

YOSEE said...

Basaveshwara, the Veerashaiva prophet, has a similar offering to shiva in this Vachana :
"The rich will make temples for Shiva.What shall I, a poor man, do?
My legs are pillars,The body the shrine,The head a cupola of gold.
Listen, O Koodalasangamadeva,Things standing shall fall,But the moving ever shall stay."
( the last line is an esoteric aphorism : "Sthavarakkalivuntu, jangamakkalivilla" which on first layer simply means "that which is built will crumble but that which is living endures" But in deeper layers, it also means the impermanence of seemingly solid world and the everlasting glow of the shiva-bound atman, the jangama that keeps journeying through innumerable lives.) )

JC said...

'Krishna' says He has created only two types of man, 'devta' and 'rakshashas', which can be interpreted - in the 'present day language' - as 'selfless' and 'selfish' respectively...

And, perhaps it is well understood that when 'man' apparently creates something, 'he' has some particular purpose in mind, either 'creative' or 'destructive' in nature.

However, one might notice that the created item can be used for either that particular purpose, or also for a purpose that wasn't envisaged in the beginning, whhich might appear to be opposite of that. And, it applies perhaps as a 'rule' without any exception to all man-made creations... The aforesaid might help realise how the choice of action perhaps isn't within human control, and it's only the apparent long term goal that matters (from Creator's view-point)...because all animal forms apparntly are understood as mere instruments or media for attaining some particular purpose envisaged in the overall design of 'Nature' by the unique Bhootnath...

Also, one of the Upnishadas lent to me in the early Eighties by a friend explained in detail how when God created man, initially one was satisfied just by seeing something till the rakshashas spoilt that agency...one by one it proceeded to say how all the five physical senses were thus got spoilt by 'rakshashas'...(read it with the background that time moves from Satyuga to Kaliyuga)...

As per 'my loud thoughts', one can perhaps explain the existence of certain heros and their beautiful words thanks to the heirarchy apparent in 'Nature' in all its aspects as part of a grand design, as it gets reflected also in the overall presenttion of certain films that appear through the 'make believe world of cnema', say Bollywood, once in a blue moon only...when 'by chance' (for an average man) all factors governing a good film happen to have luckily got together at the same place at the right time...

It's difficult for an average man to reach the Absolute Truth because the purpose of creation by Bhootnath is never made known to humans...as it is perhaps known about human creations, although might not be initially known how it would in reality be used by someone in 'future'!

Rwitoja said...

I had once come across this Buddhist teaching - "Anything we can touch is not real.It is impermanent.To get hold of the real ,we must let go of the unreal."
According to worldly wisdom,it is just the opposite!Only those things are considered real,which we can touch or hold in our hands.

JC said...

Yes Rwitoja, in this connection 'I' too had, earlier elsewhere, narrated in detail how, while 'I' was in Guwahati in the early Eighties, 'I' was invited by a well built 'mona Sikh', a resident of Calcutta and a devotee of Ma Vaishno Devi despite being a Sikh to hear his story ('I' hadn't met him earlier, and maybe he learnt from someone about 'my wife' also suffereing from the same ailment)...

He apparently suffered from Rhumatoid Arthritis and at some stage when his ankle, knee, and hip joints all were affected with the result that he, accompanied by his family, dragged himself up the 14 Km ascent to the Temple to reach there only by midnight...And, although he had been advised hot water bath by physicians for many years, he 'surrendered in Ma' and took cold water bath in the pool up there before having 'darshan' of Ma...

And, after a good night's sleep he found he was completely cured and walked all the way down, normally! He pinched himself to know if it was 'reality' or a 'dream'! And, then climbed up again to convince himself that he had really become alright and, of course, also to thank Ma!

JC said...

'I' was close to Ma Kamakhya, in the lower Himalatyas and was perhaps indirectly being advised to visit Ma Vaishno Devi in the upper Himalays... That's perhaps where dualism becomes apparent as in the story of 'Krishna' also, for He was brought up by Ma Yashoda, although born of Ma Devki in a prison...

Compare the above said with confinement of any unborn infant in mother's womb for around 9 months and, similarly, a 'black hole' results from confinement of a massive star in space towards its fag-end. And 'Hindus' called man a model of the universe that in reality is an infinite void, that is, Formless or Nirakar...

JC said...

And, 'Hindus' were mischievous, (like also the 'present day politicians', for 'Truth prevails') and played with words.

For example, 'Parvat' in Hindi, means 'Mountain' in English...Now, 'Hindus' called Ardhanarishwar the original resident of Kashi, (that is the 'present day Varanasi' in the Gangetic plains) Shiva's second consort 'Parvati' as 'the daughter of Himalaya'...

It is thus left to the imagination power of the reader either to visualise her as a girl born in the Himalayan region, like 'my sister', and also 'I', a boy, were born in Shimla, now in Himachal Pradesh, and therefore Her blood relations!

Or, after having learnt via the 'west' also the origin of Himalayas to believably have lain within the bowels of Mother Earth - where 'Ma Kali believably lived, or Shiva's original consort number one, 'Sati' that is Shakti or energy, is concentrated at earth's centre, called 'Shiva's heart'! Thus indicating Earth as the 'real Shiva' of the Hindu mythology! But the believers of one God called 'jagat mithya' or earth as a lie, tht is all physical forms as illusory, results of 'maya' like the illusion created by cinema - by projecting even 3D films recorded in the past based on fiction that can fool any human for some time at least, as events happening in the 'present'!

And, 'Vedantis' believed the physical universe to exist as models ('images') of the universe/ one and only (Formless) Creator!

The highly elevated souls at any time, therefore, concluded they themselves were 'Shiva', the immortal 'Paramatma' that is 'Supreme Soul'...

Thus the Absolute Truth is only a matter of Faith, which on account of the apparent heirarchical human system (0% to 25% of the potential) 'an average soul' in Kaliyuga the Dark Age cannot reconcile with the 'truth' expressed in the age old saying, "Satyam Shivam Sunderam." And, in the words of the 'wise ancients' literally needs Gurus, to act as 'crutches' to keep one standing on earth...and thus Krishna advises one to 'surrender in Him'...

JC said...

'Krishna' made it clear in Gita that 'He' is within each and every physical form, 'animal' or 'non-living'.

But, an average man today considers only that child who apparently appeared during Dwaperyuga, born in a prison in Mathura, and brought up by foster parents in Gokul and Brindaban on the banks of River Yamuna as the referred 'Krishna' who eventually died...whereas it's the soul, a component of the immortal Supreme Soul (Vishnu/ Shiva), that is intended...and hence fearlessness advised, which anyway is easier said than done - thanks to 'time' or Mahakal Shiva govening one through the 'body clock'!

JC said...

'Truth' is apparenty simple but made complicated because of 'maya', or the apparnt heirarchy in all aspects of 'Nature'.

It can perhaps be visualised analogous to water and dissoved impurities in it. It's known that one wouldn't be able to relish 'pure', distilled, water. It is the impurities that give taste to it that our sense of taste recognises.

But, as 'civilised humans' 'we' have gathered knowledge about 'human life', the essence, "Excess of anything is bad," seems to generally apply, that is, in case of potable water only certain dissolved chemicals as impurities are acceptable...

JC said...

That's where the role of 'west trained scientist' acquires importance in the 'present', although in 'India' perhaps it remains a formality only at times, due to 'slavery of time', because here 'everything, or anything, is acceptable'.

Maybe because, in 'not-so-ancient-India' even, one was believed to be sufficiently 'advanced' if he/ she could digest waters available in the variety of sources on land wherever one found oneself as one travelled, say like Adi Shankara from South to North India via the famous ghats of River Ganga at Kashi, as the focal point, many times...such a person, a Yogi, an all rounder, was known as one who has consumed (Ganga) waters from different ghats and, therefore, perhaps acceptable to all concerned devtas who rule the (8) different directions!

'I' too thank those devtas as 'I' also was forced to consume the available water, for a short, or long duration even, which 'my eyes' had initially failed to accept, say once from the bank of a hill-stream in the moonllight where tadpoles were visible! Or, in Guwahati where Municipal supply was being provided in a tank at the ground floor level of each house and then it was pumped to the overhead tank by the owner concerned. And, when once seen by 'me' it was found to contain 'small white animals'! Even in certain colonies in New Delhi, capital city of India, jaundice is once a while reported when drinking water gets polluted by sewage water...

JC said...

Thus it also is a matter of Faith, maybe not in human systems, but in God the Formless who believably controls the entire 'Nature' at all times, but on the other hand is mischievous (sadistic?) too and thus apparently loves playing ‘cat and mouse game' with humans!

Rwitoja said...

JC Uncle: I have heard "ghat ghat ka pani piya hai" since childhood and thought it simply means a much travelled and hence a much experienced person.Your interpretaion is very interesting!

Shakti sadhak and poet Ramprasad says in one of his songs - 'Khoj, khoj,khoj,khujle pabi,Hridaya majhe Brindaban'- Keep searching and you will find Brindaban in your heart.

Rwitoja said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JC said...

Rwitoja, 'We' are trying to visualise the state of mind of our ancestors (including the unique being) from whatever overall information 'we' can gather from the literature/ mythological stories etc. available today...thus need for 'reading between lines', and maybe thus resulting in many interpretations through different eyes...

'India' is a land of Yogis, who primarily believed in 'Yogiraja Krishna the lucky 8th child of Devki', or 'Yogeshwar Vishnu the Nadbindu/ Shiva the 'three-in-one' God (represented by 'om', ie., 3)and, therefore, gave stress on all-round knowledge or 'siddhi', and not just 'expertise' in some particular field of activity only, which although might make one appear superior to all others who are engaged only in that field of activity, and perhaps thus help bloat one's ego only...

But, at times it could make you yourself feel inferior when it comes to dealing with some other problem. Say, related with 'health', as 'I' too felt when 'my wife', a patient of Rhumatoid Arthritis was undergoing severe pain at Guwahati due to complications that had set in then due to side effects of steroids initially administered for a month, and later too though in a smaller dose...

And, 'we' were left with no other choice but to shift to New Delhi and continue with steroids, but this time under controlled conditions, with regular contact with the physician concerned here - eventually to pull on for 15 more years...last two years being much more painful due to further complictions that had set in...

Once a 'seeker' gets channeled into the field of 'Yoga', and learns how the 'wise ancients' realised man as an instrument of Nirakar or Formless God, the entire outlook of the 'true seeker' could change - because there are diversions at every step that could move you away from the 'middle stream', unless one is 'Lakshaman', that is, one keeps the goal ever in mind...

JC said...

The 'wise ancients' called man as 'Apsmara Purush', ie., 'forgetful man' thanks to the design whereby memory of most of the events related to the past gets naturally erased, although apparently retaining only, as essence, certain events that are related with fear or pleasure.

However, certain events happening at a much later date even could bring to surface of mind similar happenings even in the remote past, which one had apparently forgotten...For exzmple, 'I' could recall 'my' childhod experience of getting virtually confined and crushed by the crowd on a 'Krishna Janmashtami Day' when 'I' read in the Eighties the report in newspapers on reserch on stars during their last stages - conducted by one S Chandrashekhar, an American Indian - how depending on their original mass, compared to that of our sun, a star could get transformed into eiter a 'White Dwarf', or a 'Neutron Star' or a 'Black Hole', and only then could 'I' understaand the significance of the event and correlate 'Black Hole' with 'Krishna' of Hindu Mythology...and also further with the super gravity black hole that is believed to be housed at the centre of our galaxy (or 'Krishna' referred as 'light of thousand suns', and thus the significance of his holding a 'sudershan chakra' as a representative of Vishnu, which could lead one to ring-planets Jupiter and Saturn respectively also, and so on, an unending chain of thoughts!)...

JC said...

At least such thoughts have helped 'me' get convinced what the 'wise ancients' meant by 'maya' that is illusion, which is perhaps absolutely easily understood when one could correlate appearance of dreams, not only in humans but in 'inferior animals' too, when compared with similar projections in 'future', of reels of 'man-made films' that are apparently shot based on 'fiction', any numbers of time, and enjoy it every time! And, Krishna also advised one to live life like a witness, while performing three types of actions, whether you like it or not, for there is no escape and must be performed while one (a soul) has anyway entered the 'kalchakra', or 'time cycle'! And that the sole purpose of all souls (within human forms) is to realise the creator, formless as well as with forms - a matter of Faith or belief that is 'mental atitude'...

JC said...

As 'I' said earlier also, 'my' stream of thought ever comes to rest at the question: Although they thought of human purpose, why did the 'wise ancients' fail to reach (formless) God's purpose in the believable review of His Own Past' with the help of His own images? And, perhaps not reaching any conclusion and, therefore, the believed unending cycles from one day to another during Brahma's illusory unending life...thus eventually calling Him as unborn and unending...as reflected in the story related to 'Brahma' failing to reach the top, but lying that he had done so, and thus reflecting brahma, or sun, as the source of 'illusion'! And, similarly Vishnu failing to reach the bottom of the pillar of fire, ie., Shiva, and accepting the 'truth'...

JC said...

In so far as 'I' am concerned, 'I' conclude from the said story that Vishnu the 'Nadbindu', or point source of infinite energy, responsible for the 'brahmnad' or 'big bang', is the 'Absolute Truth' or essence of 'Hindu mythology', and is therefore related with time and space zero. Whereas, Brahma, our sun or solar system, including our earth ('jagat mithya') and all 'life forms', (and so also all physical forms that apparently fill the infinite universal void, 'Shiva') is illusory, that is as they appeared during that zero time, but perceived during 'apparnt time' created thanks to Braham, representing the temporary stars, which although appear to have large life-spans that run in billions of human years...

Of course, Kavitha is right when she says, (reflecting an ideal state of mind, difficult to achieve by 'aam aadmi' or 'common man'), "When the mind rests on the Lord, and all actions are but attributes of his presence, how then does it matter who or what I am?"

JC said...

The 'wise ancients', therefore, called 'I', in Sanskrit, 'aham', which also means 'pride', and in order to make it appear different wrote the word as 'ahang' or 'ahankar'...It must have been so designed as to remind the speaker everytime he/ she used the word meaning 'I' as the 'first person', in English, but considered as the 'third person' in Sanskrit (although have three forms conforming with 'Trinity', indicated here only in singular forms, #1 'sah' that is 'he; #2 'twam' that is 'you': #3 'aham' that is 'i'), that pride was creeping in and there was need to check it from entering into the mind and, therefore, likely in speech too...(even in English, to reflect this practice to a certain extent, only when 'I' comes together with 'he', or 'you', or both, 'I' gets the last position)...

Thus from the above, one (a soul) can perhaps visualise how the 'wise ancients' taught one to ever remain humble so that then alone it could hope to merge with the humblest of all souls, called 'Paramatma', ie., literally the 'Supreme Soul', that alone is ever related with zero time and space, and alone matters to all temporary forms (souls that reflect illusory heirarchy)...

JC said...

Some people at times asked 'me' why'I' don't have 'my' own blog, or why 'I' don't write a book?

'I' remember 'I' once wrote in some blog that 'I' am following the advice to remain attached while on the other hand attempting to remain detached - avoid too much of attachment.

If 'I' become a 'blog owner' then it would become a binding, a necessity to write every week 'something new', with colourful photos etc. to attract as large a number of visitors as posible...And 'I' have never been able to live a regulated and regimented life and, therefore, unfit for army! Even in 'my' college days 'I' used to write, in blue ink only, and finish my practical exercises, whereas my 'co-workers' in those would then copy from me while adding graphs, and used different coloured inks too - and got more marks than 'me'!

'I' have recently commented twice on the following blog too
http://judson.blogs.nytimes.com/
but haven't received any reactions, because in the 'present' everyone is in a hurry, no one has time - everyone wants to say 'something different'...which might not he one's 'original thought' - reportedly thanks to 'want of time' (to do in-depth studies for reaching at the 'truth' although one might have ample time for, say, watching 'fashion parade', ie., the 'external world' only:)

JC said...

And, 'I' believe there is nothing 'new' in this world, that wouldn't have already been discused - in much more detail perhaps - at some time or the other during over 4 billion years in the life of our mother earth...for it passes through different ages, from one 'ice age' to another when 'life' gets frozen...The ancient 'wise Hindus' however indicated that at the end of a day of Brahma, He goes to sleep and 'all souls get frozen' - to start afresh from that state at the start of the next day...and it is also indicated that during one day of Brahma, (of over 4 billion years), souls continue to move in cycles either upwards or downwards...Thus, being an apsmara purush, one, a poor soul, cannot remember what all roles it has already played, but can express surprise and discuss for long about dynastic rule of some character 'Nehru', say, and forget about the dynastic rule of Shiva whose family members are all worshipped in 'India' since long :)

JC said...

Fortunately, God the formless Supreme Being is kind enough to let it be known for the benefit of all and sundry, whatever the time be, the believable 'truth' - only if a soul is prepared to take hints from the illusory external world...and not get carried away by appearances. That is, one remains aware thanks to the existing age old saying, "Hari anant/ Hari katha ananta," that is, all souls are components of the same Hari or God, but due to apparent heirarchy there are various versions possible of the same event that can confuse an ignorant soul.

'I' myself, long ago, had indicated a few possibile versions related with the observation of moths 'naturally' getting attracted towards a lamp's/ candle's flame and get burnt - when seen through the eyes of some 'present day experts' and could thus lead a 'yogi' (who can accept 'life form' as union of 'spirit' and 'matter' to fool the five apparent physical senses and, therefore, need for any soul to activate the '6th sense', the abstract ESP), at any time, Kaliyuga or Satyuga, to the significance of 'maya' that is illusion...all as Hari or images of the unique Supreme Being...already conveyed through the 'wise ancients' anywhere on the globe, and not restricted to 'east' or 'west'...

And, it is believed 'natural' for one who has understood the 'truth' to pass it on to those souls who are yet to do so, and in this process may result in confusion because of expected innumerable versions depending on the elevation of the concerned soul, how close it is to the Supreme Soul!

JC said...

'I' believe that a 'man-made' water fountain/ 'natural' geyser could act as a model of the above thought. If observed closely, one could notice how only those streams of water that are close to the centre, or 'mid stream' relatively reach the greatest height - as it is measured from the nozzle/ ground level, as the case might be...

Interestingly, 'Hindus' indicated 'water' (that naturally acts as a mirror too) as one of the 'panchbhootas', literally 'five ghosts', or 'panchtatvas', that is 'five elements', that go into the creation of each physical form since time immemorial, or 'anadi kal'...and 'Shiva' is also called Bhootnath the Lord of ghosts, or Swayambhu ('Shambhu', in short) the one who appeared on His Own, or literally having no parents or Anathnath...and thousands other names...given to his innumerable forms...(maybe it could be understood much more easily if one were to give different names to his own self at different ages, say on each birthday. and indicated it reflected through the photograph pasted in an exclusive photo album alongwith a short note of one's physical capability (growing/ faling) at any particular age, which one normally forgets or cannot recall offhand)...

JC said...

'I' was amused when the conductor of Tambola would say 'two fat ladies', 'eight and eight', '88' and surprised when 'I' heard him say 'lucky for some', 'one and three', 13!

But, in restrospect, recalled that numeral '8' graphically represents human form ('governor vessel' on top of the 'conception vesel'). And, that 'I' was '13' when 'I' visited Nainital for the first time and perhaps can consider myself 'lucky' to have climbed Naina Peak and also row boats in the lake, morning and evening every day, during 'my' stay for around three weeks with a cousin and 'our' eldest brother, 'our Guru'...

Only later, that helped me visualise the significance of time believably moving from Satyuga (asociated with Shiva the infinite immortal) to Kaliyuga (associated with immortal Vishnu the base or 'zero', '0')...and hence things appearing to go, relatively speaking, from 'bad' to 'worse', which need no words as explanation with reference to the political scenario in the 'present day' 'India' as well as in its neighbourhood...perhaps as a glimpse into/ reflection of the scenario projected by 'ancient Hindus' - reference growing panic in Brahma when demons grew bigger in size and appeared likely to devour 'Brahma' Himself anytime - and 'Vishnu' apearing lost in His 'Yognidra' - actually waiting for the 'right time', for approval of 'Mahakal Shiva', the 'controller of Time to save 'Brahma' (one of the three physical aspects of the 'three-in-one' God as the true image of the formless Supreme Being!...and hence the prayer to keep one healthy, "Om Treyambakam yajamahe/ sugandhim pushthiye vardhanam/ urva rukmiye bandhnan/ mrityor mukshiye mamritam.")...

JC said...

'I' am glad no one is reading the comments seriously! Otherwise, 'we' are generally good at pointing out mistakes, someone could have pointed out that the last word in the prayer shold have read 'mamritat' and not mamritam'! Thanks!